Warren Buffett's Golf Clubs sold for nearly 40k at auction

The golf clubs and custom "NetJet" bag personally-owned by the 'Oracle of Omaha'.

Photos and text: Mike Graff©, RR Auction©

Warren Buffett's golf clubs and custom "NetJet" bag sold for $39,671 according to Boston-based RR Auction.

The lot is comprised of Buffett's personally-owned and used set of golf clubs; that includes his customized golf bag and fourteen clubs, given to the one-time fiancée of his granddaughter.  

The bag itself features his name embroidered in gold on the front flap, "Warren Buffett," with the logo of Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary NetJets on both sides; attached is a plastic 2005 Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference tag, with affixed green labels, "Buffett" and "88." Wrapped around the handle of each club is a Warren Buffett property tag, most reading: "Omaha Country Club, Warren Buffett, Omaha, NE 68152." The golf clubs include: nine Ping Eye2 clubs (wedge, sand wedge, and irons 3-9), an older Ping putter, Callaway Heaven Wood, Callaway Divine Nine, and two Orlimar Trimetal drivers (13° and 16°). Inside one of the bag's pockets are an assortment of tees, markers from Augusta National and the Seminole Golf Club (two of the world's most exclusive golf clubs), and bag tags from the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara.

The consignor notes: "The clubs were purchased for Warren by the director of the Buffett Foundation and given to Buffett sometime in the 90s. They were his only set of clubs from then until now. The bag was custom made for Warren by NetJets (a Berkshire subsidiary). Warren personally handed me the clubs inside his home in 2016. He gave them to me after my clubs had been stolen. I was engaged to his granddaughter at the time and have had them in my possession up until this point."

"A reminder that more deals are done on the golf course than in any boardroom," said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.  

Highlights from the sale include, but are not limited by:

Eddie Van Halen'  Frankenstrat' Art Series guitar played by EVH at the Toyota Center in 2008 sold for $18,750.

Benjamin Franklin document boldly signed as president in 1786 sold $17,500.

Albert Einstein hand-painted silhouette portrait of Einstein's distinctive profile sold for $15,678.

Howard Hughes vintage pearl-finish signed photo sold for $7,871.

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction from RR Auction began on May 24 and concluded on June 12. For information, visit the RR Auction web site at www.rrauction.com.

The tag from the 2005 Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, a significant annual finance conference hosted by the private investment firm, is particularly notable—attendees include some of the world's most important titans of industry, such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Phil Knight, Oprah Winfrey, and Rupert Murdoch.

Major business deals and mergers have developed from meetings at the conference, such as Verizon's acquisition of Yahoo, Jeff Bezos' purchase of The Washington Post, and Disney's merger with ABC. A cautious investor, Buffett has not made major headlines stemming from one of these retreats.

Buffett's humble nature and quirky frugality are evident in these clubs—famed for remaining in his original Omaha home even after making his fortune, and for driving base-model Cadillacs for years and years that he used only one set of golf clubs for well over a decade is both noteworthy and fitting. The set is also rooted in his origins—as a teenager, one of his first business ventures was selling refurbished golf balls, buying them from a man in Chicago at $3.50 per dozen and selling them locally in Omaha for $6. As chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, he has undoubtedly brokered deals over rounds of golf—since 1998, when Berkshire acquired NetJets, the firm has purchased well-known companies like Fruit of the Loom, Duracell, Clayton Homes, and Jordan's Furniture. In 2010, inspired by his friend and sometime golfing partner Bill Gates, Buffett pledged to give away 99 percent of his wealth to charity—the same generosity seen here, at a much smaller scale, in giving his lone set of golf clubs to a future family member at a time of need.

#575 - Eddie Van HalenEstimate: $15,000+

'Frankenstrat' Art Series guitar played by EVH at the Toyota Center in 2008
Stage-used Charvel EVH Art Series electric guitar with black and white stripe pattern, played during a Van Halen concert at the Toyota Center by Eddie Van Halen, who has signed the body in silver ink, "Houston, TX—1-28-'08, Van Halen 2008, Eddie Van Halen." EVH Art Series back plate features an edition number of "159." Includes a handsome custom hardshell carrying case with large "EVH" logo to inner lining. In fine condition. Designed by the master himself, the Charvel EVH Art Series guitar is based on Eddie Van Halen's original Frankenstein guitar, which was the musician's attempt to merge the sound of a classic Gibson guitar with the physical attributes and tremolo bar functionality of a Fender Stratocaster. The striped finish was the result of Van Halen painting the guitar differing colors, applying strips of masking tape after each coat, and then peeling to reveal his Shelleyan monstrosity. Accompanied by a photo of EVH playing the guitar on stage, as well as a certificate of authenticity signed by Van Halen, who affirms that he played guitar "159" on "January 28, 2008; Houston, TX." A phenomenal stage-used axe once wielded by the legendary Eddie Van Halen.

#312 - Howard Hughes Estimate: $2,000+

"My most sincere wishes for the success of World's Fair 1939"—Howard Hughes to the fair's president
Spectacular vintage pearl-finish 8.75 x 6.25 photo of Hughes in the cockpit of his record-breaking monoplane at Newark Airport, boldly signed and inscribed in fountain pen, "To Mr. Grover Whalen, with my most sincere wishes for the success of World's Fair 1939, Howard Hughes." Attractively matted and framed to an overall size of 18.5 x 16. In fine condition.

This superb photograph was captured shortly after Hughes's record-setting transcontinental flight of January 19, 1937—the eccentric millionaire broke his own transcontinental speed record, flying from Los Angeles, California, to Newark, New Jersey, in 7 hours and 31 minutes, for an estimated average speed of 332 miles per hour. The recipient is also noteworthy—Whalen was a New York politician and public relations guru who served as the chief organizer of the 1939 New York World's Fair. In order to promote the fair, he recruited Hughes to make a special around-the-world flight in a specially designed Lockheed 14N 'Super Electra' dubbed the 'New York World's Fair 1939.' Hughes took off from Floyd Bennett Field on Long Island, New York, on July 10, 1938, setting a new around-the-world record of 3 days, 19 hours, and 8 minutes when he returned on July 14th. He hoped the flight would be a triumph of American aviation technology, illustrating that safe, long-distance air travel was possible—a mission he accomplished with enormous success.

#239 - Albert Einstein

Unique hand-inked portrait of the professorial Albert Einstein
Fantastic hand-painted silhouette portrait of Albert Einstein's distinctive profile, accomplished in ink on an off-white 6.75 x 10 sheet, signed in the lower border in fountain pen by the subject, "Albert Einstein, 1942." Also signed by the artist, "Jos. Frost/41."

#86 - Benjamin Franklin Sold: $17,500+

Boldly signed in 1786 as president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania
Choice partly-printed DS, signed "B. Franklin," one page, 12 x 7, June 12, 1786. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania document attesting that William Webb is "a Notary and Tabellion Public in and for the said Commonwealth, duly appointed and commissioned." Beautifully signed on the left side in bold ink by Franklin and countersigned by James Trimble. The large seal affixed above Franklin's signature remains fully intact. Matted to an overall size of 17.25 x 10.5. In fine condition, with intersecting folds (horizontal folds lightly passing through the signature) and mild soiling; an extremely bright, crisp example of an official Franklin document. Franklin issued this document as president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, a position analogous to the modern position of governor.

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